IF the City of Swan develops the Midland Oval public open space as depicted in its virtual reality tour the redevelopment will breathe life into the Midland town centre.
The public open space component of the Midland Oval project, of which Echo News was given an exclusive virtual reality tour, is impressive.
Making up 17 per cent of the 11ha site the public open space will include an oval big enough to accommodate the circus when it is in town and the annual HyperFest event.
It will have an arbour with artwork highlighting some of the city’s main attractions, real grass and 600 trees.
The public open space will, if the city carries out its plans, be a place people will want to live, visit in their lunch hour and where organisers of cultural events such as the Fringe Festival will be keen to be seen.
The city’s approach to the public open space will probably not meet the approval of people opposed to the redevelopment such as those who attended the Bike around and around to save our ground event in May 2016 to show the city they wanted the oval kept.
The redevelopment could also suck more life out of retail outlets in the Old Great Northern Hwy area unless the city and those businesses work together to attract visitors and shoppers to the area.
But the people who opposed the city’s redevelopment plan purely because they wanted the oval retained as public open space will certainly get a different perspective on the project if they take advantage of the virtual reality tour.
As an interested observer I think the seeds of nullifying the opposition to the city’s treatment of public open space were planted when councillors, including now Mayor David Lucas, went to a conference in Tasmania about designing and activating inner city spaces.
They came back wanting to get the balance right between keeping the oval and developing it.
Only time will tell but I think city residents will agree they have done a good job.